Towards a whole school approach to pastoral care: A proposed framework of principles and practices

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Academic Press


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




This article was originally published as: de Jong, T., & Kerr-Roubicek, H. (2007). Towards a whole school approach to pastoral care: A proposed framework of principles and practices. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 17(1), 1-12. Original article available here


Pastoral care in schools has traditionally been associated with notions of help, advice, values development, and children's moral welfare. In the past it has been viewed predominantly as a separate set of extra-curricula activities offered to students by school staff with particular support roles, or 'pastors' from affiliated church or religious communities. In some Australian schools and education sectors pastoral care continues to be conceptualised in this way. However, over the past two decades interest has intensified in a 'whole school approach' to pastoral care that supports the holistic development of students as they learn. What has influenced this change of direction? What are some of the key challenges encountered when implementing this approach? How might we define 'a whole school approach' to pastoral care? What are the core principles and associated school practices of this approach to pastoral care? We attempt to address these questions in this paper. In doing so, we have drawn on the MindMatters Plus Demonstration Project and constructed a 'whole school' framework for pastoral care. We emphasise the importance of distributed leadership in our framework, where all staff and students alike are responsible for developing an ethos of care. This is a 'work-in-progress'. We invite feedback on our proposal.




Link to publisher version (DOI)